In-depth reviews

Volkswagen e-up! review

The Volkswagen e-up! electric city car was given a midlife nip-and-tuck in 2020, including a bigger battery that helped to substantially improve its range

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Grown-up driving experience
  • Decent real-world range
  • Excellent visibility

Cons

  • Interior quality not the best
  • No infotainment system
  • Cable storage is poor
Car typeRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Electric159 miles5hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.2kW)48mins (10-80%, 30kW)

While the long-awaited Volkswagen ID.3 family hatchback finally arrived in the UK in late 2020, the forthcoming ID.2 city car is still several years away from production, so in the meantime the e-up! has a rather important job to do.

The latest e-up! is a significant improvement on the original model that launched in 2014; a more energy-dense 36.8kWh battery occupies the same physical space as the old 18.7kWh unit, so the car now returns up to 159 miles of range on a single charge.

It’ll do 0-62mph in around 12 seconds, but a hit of instant torque – synonymous with electric cars – means it feels faster and more fun than the numbers suggest. Inside, the e-up! is surprisingly spacious, but it’s let down by a spartan dashboard that features a crude smartphone cradle instead of a more modern touchscreen infotainment system.

Quality is good, but fresher rivals like the Honda e and MINI Electric appear more upmarket and trump the up! for standard kit. Still, you pay a premium for those models, despite the fact they’re no bigger or practical than the cleverly conceived Volkswagen.

Orders for the e-up! were suspended in the UK for several months in late 2020 due to high demand, but it can now once again be configured on the company's website. Its Skoda Citigo-e iV sister model has definitively ended production, but the also mechanically identical SEAT Mii electric is still available.

While a circa-£20,000 asking price makes the e-up! look rather expensive, in some ways it’s a more convincing package than several cars costing several thousand pounds more. And nearly-new or lightly used models are available from dealers, representing even better value for money. For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen e-up!, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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